Five Times Triangle Volunteers Made Things Better During the Pandemic
Over the past year, many of us have experienced a high degree of anxiety and cabin fever. Staying active and involved in the community (at a proper social distance) have given individuals and families the chance to give back. Plenty of non-profit organizations continued to need volunteers and lots of Triangle residents had extra leisure time, and that created amazing opportunities.
When COVID-19 struck, we saw our community’s needs skyrocket. There were lines around the block at Food Banks, more people than ever needing a helping hand with housing, education, and more. Fortunately, we saw the energy and passion around helping each other rise, too. People stepped up more than I think we’ve ever seen in our years of serving Activate Good’s mission. I like to think it’s the beginning of a sort of ‘Civic Renaissance’ – and that we’ll be able to carry this energy forward into creating a better community and world for everyone. – Amber Smith, Executive Director of Activate Good
Throughout the pandemic, Activate Good has continued to connect volunteers to organizations that needed a hand keeping their efforts on track and helping those in need. There are many to choose from, but here are five times volunteers made a difference during the past 12 months.
Operation Access – Parts 1 and 2
This is one of the largest projects in which Activate Good agreed to partner, participate, and provide volunteers. Not only did COVID-19 provide a challenge for schools to keep students on track with learning, but many also do not have access to the technology needed to access online classrooms. Activate Good stepped up and partnered with the Wake County Public School System to help.
In April 2020, Operation Access started with a goal of providing 10,000 hot spots to children in need. The program was successful and school leaders determined that children not only needed access to reliable wireless internet but they needed laptops. In August 2020, volunteers came out for Operation Access Part 2 – this time distributing 40,000 laptops and 10,000 hot spots. This project ensured that school-age children had the necessary technology required to continue their schoolwork.
The holidays are a great time to give back to the community. Many are in a festive spirit and want to make the season a good one for those who are less fortunate. In December 2020, Activate Good partnered with Wake County Human Services, Loaves and Fishes, and The Encouraging Place to enlist volunteers for the annual Pride for Parents toy and gift sale. People were encouraged to donate gently used or brand new toys to the two pop-up store locations in Raleigh. Families who may not have enough money were able to come into the store to purchase toys at a reduced price, allowing them to maintain dignity, and children received presents picked out by their parents. Pride for Parents is always popular, so be on the lookout for details on how to volunteer for the 2021 Pride for Parents event!
Social distancing has been the name of the game for the past 12 months. Many folks across the Triangle love to volunteer on their own or with their families. Organizations always need help, but volunteering in person may not be possible. Fortunately, Activate Good has the solution! Why not ask individuals and families to work on a volunteer project at home? Everyone benefits!
Families in need have to make tough choices and cleaning supplies may not be high on the list. During the pandemic, it has been critical to keep living spaces clean to help prevent the spread of the virus. Activate Good created a list of supplies. Volunteers made a difference by purchasing and packing them together, creating notes of encouragement, and dropping them off at designated locations. This was a great activity to get the whole family involved and learn the value of giving back.
This project was ideal for the artistic person or family with creative flair! Activate Good partnered with Learning Together to create videos for children to help encourage reading. What a great way to model reading and demonstrate how learning can be fun! Volunteers made a difference by selecting a book from a list and recording a video of themselves reading the book. Some volunteers created a character and used props; it was a fantastic opportunity to get the whole family involved!
Many children in the Triangle are food insecure, meaning they do not have access to food on a regular basis. Schools help with this problem by providing free and reduced lunches, but COVID-19 has kept children at home learning online. Families who lost income had difficulty keeping food on their tables.
Activate Good launched Operation Summer Hunger and volunteers made a difference by getting food to those in need. Alliance Medical Ministry, Durham Food Bank, Raleigh Food Bank, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Urban Ministries, Cora Food Bank, and Meals on Wheels welcomed volunteers to assist with various duties such as working in the gardens, sorting, packing, and delivering food, and helping organize food pantries. There were opportunities to distribute meals at local schools and serve meals in Apex, Cary, and Morrisville.
As we continue to remain socially distant, remember that organizations need your help! Check out the Activate Good volunteer opportunities and sign up to help out!